There's been a whole lot of lace, satin, and organza going around these last few weeks. But when Sharon Wauchob talked today about making couture elements work for every day, it was a continuation of a conversation she's been having for years. Wauchob's default stance is hard-edged and understated, but particularly in her Spring collections she has challenged herself by facing traditional codes of femininity head-on and breaking them down. "I like to take something that's almost foreign to me and make it what I consider cool and wearable," she explained before her show.

The first looks out made organza seem like a performance fabric in slick, tight-collared shirts tucked into skirts and pants with floaty but athletically inclined blocks of color. Then came lace and sprouts of fringe, tiered and layered over one another on a block-printed silk (inspired by India, though Wauchob is loath to make a literal reference) on straight-cut dresses with the faintest hint of flapper about them.

In this mode, the Irish designer can be transcendental, but the results here were mixed. Instead of throwing up an attitude of nonchalance, the black lace dresses in the middle of the show felt a bit wan and deflated. Wauchob made up for those later with a trio pieced from pleated silk and a beautiful sheer black lace, which played a smart-sexy peekaboo that's probably spot-on for her smart-sexy clientele. Toward the end, Wauchob struck a particularly ethereal note in sugary pale slipdresses that were perhaps a bit too lingerielike at times. The coolest ones came with thick faille ribbon straps. Call them Boudoir Interrupted.